Cole Irvin Keeps It Simple
Despite winning the International League pitcher of the year award in 2018, Cole Irvin is not the most ballyhooed pitching prospect in the Phillies’ organization.
Irvin is OK with that. He gets it. He’s comfortable with who he is.
“I’m not known as a prototypical prospect,” the Phillies' fifth-round pick in 2016 out of Oregon said. “I’m a guy that gets outs. I don’t care how hard I throw. I don’t care about my spin rate. I care about the guy’s swing coming through the zone. I care about the guy leaning out over the plate to get the away pitch. I care about the stuff that actually matters in games. And I felt that there’s been a little bias toward some guys that can’t find the strike zone and I’m a guy that pitches in the strike zone and gets outs just the same.
“I stick to the old-school thing about baseball. I’m a big fan of breaking down hitters and swings. I’ve always been taught to pitch first, not throw. Everyone wants to prove they can throw hard. You have to understand who you are. I’m a pitcher. Get outs.”
Irvin did a lot of that last season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He led the IL in ERA (2.57) and WHIP (1.054) while pitching 161.1 innings.
Irvin does not have to be protected on the 40-man roster until after this season, but is in big league camp as a non-roster invitee. In fact, he started the Grapefruit League opener. Smart preparation and the ability command a deep repertoire of pitches is Irvin’s strength, and though his fastball sits 88-92 he can still sneak a 95 mph fastball past a hitter up in the zone every now and again.
“I’m not a hard thrower,” Irvin said. “What’s wrong with a guy that goes out there and gets outs? That’s kind of where I stand.”
Irvin projects to open back at Triple-A. Continued success should put him in line for a look in Philly if a need arises this season.
“We have a really good rotation,” he said. "I’m excited to see what this team can do. My role right now is minuscule compared to the guys on the 40-man roster. All I can do is put myself in position to be the next man called up and be able to win that game if need be.”